Making Demands

Me: What’s going on? Dave is walking around with the luxury dog bed cushion.

Nell: I know. I’m afraid we’re in the middle of a hostage situation and Demands need to be met.

Me: Hostage situation? What’s happened?

Nell: It seems that swinging nonchalantly on a trapeze over a treehouse isn’t as easy as we thought.

Me: Oh dear. Did whoever is hiding up there notice?

Nell: He couldn’t fail to notice when Gladys fell on his head.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: In fact he let out an enormous roar.

Me: I wondered what that was. So when you say ‘he’ and ‘roar’ I’m guessing it is Lionel King.

Nell: It certainly is and he is Making Demands.

Me: What a bad lion.

Nell: Fortunately Sally has arrived with Beauregard and Oliver and is handling the situation.

Me: What Demands is he making?

Nell: Bacon sandwiches, a flask of tea, Poppy’s scones with jam and cream and a soft bed.

Me: That’s extremely demanding.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Sally isn’t going to let Dave take it all up there, is she? Only he got stuck in the treehouse before and I simply can’t bear to think of him trapped up a tree with a demanding lion.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: He’s my Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David is not going up there. And neither is Alejandro.

Me: Alpacas can’t climb trees. Why does he want to?

Nell: Gladys is the love of his life.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: But Sally is having none of it. The only animal capable of a dangerous mission like this is…

Me: Beauregard the tiger?

Nell: No. Oliver the opossum with Henry the woodlouse as his guide.

Me: That’s a terrible idea, Nell.

Nell: Just wait and see. Sally has a plan.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Poised for action

Me: That’s an all action photo, isn’t it? Look at all those ears flapping.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Except for you.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: You’re just watching.

Nell: I’m poised for action.

Me: Is that what you call it?

Nell: Yes. It was lovely to be back in the activity field.

Me: I enjoyed it too. I only managed one lap of the field but it was good to have some fresh air again.

Nell: There was a little too much fresh air last night. Did you hear the storm?

Me: I did. Whoever is hiding in the treehouse must have had a dreadful night.

Nell: Whoever is hiding up there is about to be bounced. Sally is on her way and Beauregard and Oliver are with her.

Me: It’s absolutely amazing how Oliver has come out of his shell.

Nell: Oliver is an opossum. He never had a shell.

Me: You know what I mean. When he arrived here he was easily startled and now he is riding tigers and fighting lions.

Nell: Yes, when you put it like that it does sound rather impressive. Now, you might have noticed the trapeze.

Me: I did wonder. Is it for Glide with Gladys?

Nell: No. Just for Gladys. She is going to nonchalantly swing over the treehouse to see who is in there.

Me: Is that even possible?

Nell: Oh yes. As long as she gives it enough oomph she should be able to reach it.

Me: I mean can you swing nonchalantly?

Nell: Not me, personally, no. But I’m sure Gladys can do it.

Me: Don’t you think whoever is hiding up there might notice a trapeze swinging above its head?

Nell: Not necessarily.

Me: I’m glad it’s not me.

Nell: Aren’t we all?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Special Time

Me: Where’s Dave?

Nell: David is downstairs having Special Time with Kev.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: He was extremely upset to miss Tony’s visit.

Me: Tony will be back again soon.

Nell: David has no concept of time. A Labrador’s lot is to silently Wait and Hope.

Me: I haven’t noticed a lot of silence. In fact you lot are constantly barking at the farm dogs.

Nell: They need barking at. And so does next door’s cat. It walks along our wall you know. It has no respect for boundaries.

Me: Cats don’t care about things like that. They do as they please. That’s what I love about them.

Nell: You wouldn’t love it if we behaved like that. Imagine David just walking along a neighbour’s wall without so much as a by-your-leave.

Me: That would be ever so dangerous, Nell. I don’t even want to think about my darling boy up on a wall.

Nell: You know what I mean. Talking of cats, The Cat saw something moving in the treehouse when it was having tea with Malcolm and Susan. It had a tail.

Me: I didn’t know Malcolm and Susan were having a tea party.

Nell: It was just The Cat and Henry. They needed a four for a game of Bridge.

Me: I didn’t know Henry played Bridge.

Nell: Henry and Horst are masters of the game. But that’s not the point. Is Beauregard back?

Me: He might be, although it isn’t really like him to keep quiet. It’s not as if he is the one hiding.

Nell: Did you say hiding?

Me: Yes.

Nell: We need to phone Sally. If it isn’t Beauregard then it might be You Know Who.

Me: But I don’t know who.

Nell: Just call Sally.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Tony pays a visit

Me: It was lovely to see Tony yesterday and so kind of him to collect my inhaler from the pharmacy after work.

Nell: Tony is a kind soul. I’m sorry David missed him but at least Harriet and I were there.

Me: Where was Dave, by the way?

Nell: He’d gone fishing with Knitwear Wolf, Princess and Our Penguin.

Me: With fishing rods?

Nell: Of course, how else were they supposed to catch the fish?

Me: I thought seals and penguins caught fish in their mouths.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes, I really do. Of course seals and penguins catch fish in their mouths. You didn’t expect Princess and Our Penguin to use a rod, did you?

Me: That’s why I asked.

Nell: Only David and Rupert need fishing rods. Try and be a little realistic.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Princess and Our Penguin go to the sea for the swimming. The fish are just a bonus, like snacking in the car.

Me: I love swimming in the sea.

Nell: Well, that’s not happening any time soon.

Me: At least we are out of isolation today as I’m no longer infectious.

Nell: Which is good to know.

Me: Wasn’t it kind of the vet to bring round your medication? He said he was passing by and they knew we were isolating.

Nell: They are delightful people.

Me: Actually, when things happen you realise how many lovely people there are out there, don’t you?

Nell: Yes, you do.

Me: Have the llamas recovered from accidentally dancing with a lion?

Nell: Gladys says they’re still a little jumpy and have taken a dislike to cloaks with attractive hoods.

Me: There can’t be many of them around at the moment, Nell. It is summer.

Nell: No, but there could be.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


David has an interesting theory

Me: Is David watching Walter again?

Nell: Yes, and Walter Junior. I’ve told him they’re allowed to eat from the bird feeder after yesterday’s heroics.

Me: I can’t believe Lionel King got away again.

Nell: The llamas didn’t help by panicking. Running around screaming doesn’t help anyone. You would think they had never seen a lion before.

Me: I thought Babycakes Gillespie was awfully brave trying to wheel his cart into Lionel’s way.

Nell: And foolish. A small pug can’t push a cart across a field faster than a lion. And what was he going to do when he got there? Offer him a bagel?

Me. It was a bit of an uphill struggle but at least he tried. What about Poppy though?

Nell: Reckless behaviour. Brandishing a whisk.

Me: She couldn’t find her sword so she grabbed the nearest thing.

Nell: The real heroes were most definitely Walter and Walter Junior.

Me: Yes. When the Beefies descended from the skies armed with slimy wet mackerel they bravely fought them off.

Nell: Unfortunately during the mayhem Lionel escaped.

Me: Is it me, or has Dave been watching Walter and Walter Junior a lot more recently?

Nell: David has an interesting theory about Walter.

Me: He does?

Nell: He thinks Walter may not be a Walter at all.

Me: He’s definitely a pigeon, Nell.

Nell: No. He might be a She.

Me: What? Walter might be Waltina?

Nell: Maybe, although Waltina is not the most attractive of names.

Me: He has been awfully protective recently and then Walter Junior suddenly appeared.

Nell: Not exactly suddenly. There was an awful lot of rustling in the bushes and toing and froing before Walter Junior arrived.

Me: And billing and cooing one presumes.

Nell: Stop presuming and go back to bed.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Cares of the World

Me: Oh Nell. You look like you have the cares of the world on your shoulders.

Nell: I think the events of the past few weeks are finally catching up with me.

Me: I’m not helping.

Nell: At least you are talking to a doctor today.

Me: Yes, I’m sure I will improve soon.

Nell: Did you cancel Sophie the hairdresser?

Me: Yes, and the dentist. And Kev cancelled Chloe.

Nell: We can’t be putting Chloe at risk. My hydrotherapy can wait until next week.

Me: Yes, I’m sure everything will look a lot brighter then.

Nell: It had better. There is only so much one can take. Even a sensible grounded animal like myself.

Me: How is Dave?

Nell: Rupert has taken him fishing. Poppy has made them a picnic of ham sandwiches and lemon drizzle cake with a flask of tea each and some scones for later.

Me: Crusts off?

Nell: Of course not. Rupert and David need a substantial sandwich. Freshly baked crunchy white bread with lashings of butter and thickly cut ham.

Me: Delicious. I wish I could taste again.

Nell: Just give yourself time. Poppy has made you leek and potato soup.

Me: Now, that’s odd.

Nell: What?

Me: Aren’t there usually three llamas?

Nell: Yes. Why?

Me: There seem to be four in the field and one of them is wearing a wig.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. It’s probably Alejandro. Alpacas are constantly being mistaken for llamas.

Me: It’s not a very good dancer, and who needs a cloak in this weather?

Nell: Did you say cloak?

Me: Yes, a long black velvet cloak with an attractive hood.

Nell: That’s not a wig. It’s a mane. It’s Lionel. Sound the alarm.

Me: We don’t have one.

Nell: Just shout then. Good grief.

Me: Sorry.


Important Thinking

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy is lying outside on his lounger. Isn’t it a bit early? The Welsh corgi choir aren’t singing until later.

Nell: David wants some time alone. He has some Important Thinking to do.

Me: That sounds rather heavy for a Sunday.

Nell: Sundays are meant for Thinking. You know that.

Me: Maybe Dave is thinking about bacon or what Sunday roast Poppy is cooking.

Nell: He is not. At Morning Thoughts today we were discussing The Current Situation and David is struggling to come to terms with it.

Me: We only need to self isolate for a little while longer, Nell.

Nell: It’s not that. It’s you.

Me: Me?

Nell: David can’t bear it.

Me: I know he doesn’t like me to be ill. I woke up to find his face right next to mine. He must have been watching me sleep.

Nell: We’re supposed to take it in turns but David insists on doing the lion’s share.

Me: Talking of lions, has there been any sign of Lionel King?

Nell: According to eyewitnesses Lionel has been attending the Film Festival in Cannes, the Olympic Games in Tokyo and still managing a coffee at the local Starbarks.

Me: I thought spectators weren’t allowed at the Olympics.

Nell: Is that all you find odd?

Me: No, obviously they must be different lions. Was he really seen at Starbarks? That’s a bit close to home.

Nell: Yes. John the Doberman is Keeping an Eye and Babycakes Gillespie has been warned.

Me: I’m not sure Babycakes Gillespie’s gangster jewellery is something Lionel will be interested in. He’s more about diamonds and pearls.

Nell: Gangster jewellery? What are you talking about? Lionel likes his coffee and Babycakes has a coffee cart. Do keep up.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


Sara makes a mistake

Me: Can I say something, please?

Nell: Why are you out of bed?

Me: There’s not a lot of bed left, Nell. It’s full of Labradors.

Nell: I think you will find Poppy is in there somewhere too.

Me: It’s not that I don’t appreciate the attention.

Nell: Good.

Me: It’s just that I could do with a little more space.

Nell: I’m surprised you’ve got any space left after yesterday.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: I know about the doughnuts.

Me: What doughnuts?

Nell: The extra sugary ones our kind neighbour Susannah brought round for you and Kev.

Me: Oh those doughnuts.

Nell: Yes. The doughnuts you ate.

Me: I couldn’t resist them, Nell.

Nell: Without Sharing.

Me: The thing is I can’t taste anything because of Covid but somehow the gorgeously sugary loveliness of a doughnut with lots of jam inside was a huge comfort.

Nell: The gorgeously sugary loveliness?

Me: Yes.

Nell: So, that’s why you ate Kev’s doughnut too?

Me: I wasn’t going to eat it. It just happened.

Nell: Eating two doughnuts doesn’t just happen.

Me: No. I suppose it doesn’t.

Nell: But in view of the fact that you are unwell and Kev isn’t pressing charges we will agree to let it go this time.

Me: Pressing charges?

Nell: Stealing is stealing. Even when the evidence has been eaten. Ask David.

Me: It was just so nice to actually enjoy something. You don’t realise how much your sense of smell affects your taste until it’s gone.

Nell: Don’t stick your face in the fish again, please? I saw you with the sea bass.

Me: I was hoping I could smell it.

Nell: You might not be able to smell it but we can smell you. Nobody wants a fishy face.

Me: No. Sorry.


Not such positive news

Me: What are you all whispering about?

Nell: Poppy and I are consoling David.

Me: Why?

Nell: You know perfectly well why.

Me: I don’t want to make a fuss, Nell.

Nell: People need to know.

Me: You tell them.

Nell: Yesterday evening Sara heard that she has tested positive for COVID19 and it is more than likely that Kev has it too.

Me: I don’t know how I got it, Nell.

Nell: Never mind dwelling on how you got it. The wretched virus is everywhere at the moment. The main thing is that both you and Kev are double vaccinated.

Me: Thank goodness for those wonderful scientists and the vaccine.

Nell: Yes.

Me: I thought I had a bad summer cold.

Nell: We had our suspicions and when you lost your sense of smell we knew.

Me: I’m so glad you are all here, Nell.

Nell: Where else would we be? Now, back to David. He isn’t dealing very well with this news.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Is he worried about me?

Nell: He’s worried about you and bacon.

Me: Bacon isn’t top of my agenda at the moment.

Nell: But it’s top of David’s. It’s his answer to everything.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: If he can’t offer you the comfort of bacon sandwiches he feels useless.

Me: He’s not useless. I don’t need bacon. I need hugs and Dave’s are the best.

Nell: Yes. That’s what I told him.

Me: It’s funny how difficult times can make you realise how lucky you are.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: I’m surrounded by love, Nell. Even if people can’t physically be here I can still feel it and know they care.

Nell: That’s what I keep telling you. We’ll get through this together.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Fig Chutney

Me: Why are you and Poppy looking so concerned?

Nell: We’re tired of waiting for your test results.

Me: I’m not finding it easy either, but I don’t think that’s the reason. Is there something you’re not telling me?

Nell: What do you think of Poppy’s new haircut? It’s perfect for this hot weather, isn’t it?

Me: Just tell me.

Nell: Lionel got away.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: Dorothy did her best to distract him with a selection of local cheeses and some fig chutney, but he wasn’t interested.

Me; I don’t think I’ve ever had fig chutney.

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: No.

Nell: He said he was happy with what was in his basket and did she work for Barks and Spencer because why else would she be pestering him?

Me: That was a bit rude of him.

Nell: I think he was hungry.

Me: Or hangry. It happens to us all.

Nell: Anyway, Dorothy said she didn’t actually work for Barks and Spencer but she liked to share recommendations to which Lionel replied, ‘Go and share them with someone else then.’

Me: Now, that really was rude.

Nell: Dorothy burst into tears and while an elderly Airedale was comforting her with a shortbread biscuit, Lionel paid and left.

Me: So, he’s still out there?

Nell: Yes. Beauregard scoured the town but there was no sign of him so we are guessing he has moved on.

Me: Maybe he’s hired another boat?

Nell: You might be right. Beauregard said all wasn’t lost as he and Oliver were able to enjoy an ice cream in the sunshine before they came home.

Me: I didn’t know Oliver was involved.

Nell: Oh yes. Where Beau goes, he goes.

Me: It’s Beau now, is it?

Nell: Yes. Why?

Me: Nothing. Sorry.